monthly column from gay author/activist Desmond Waite


(Author's note: Nookie and poontang are genderless terms that most commonly are used to describe female genitalia but often are used as well by gay men. Similarly, "man pussy" and "boy pussy" refer to anal sex, although "boy" does not mean an underage adolescent.)

Paying for It

His ad in a gay magazine said he was 5'5'', 23, 130 pounds, Latin American, versatile and affectionate with 8" uncut. He also had a website, which I visited to check him out, even though I knew he might have used somebody else's picture. He hadn't. In fact, he was even prettier, with piercing dark eyes, short dark hair, a smile that would melt the heart of a Republican, a glabrous dancer's body.

After living with only the company of a friendly but tired fist for two years, I suppressed my sumptuary principles, my Puritan penury and sought solace between the legs of this adorable rentboy, a commercial poontang purveyor. Dear sweet baby Jesus on rollerskates! He was prime nookie. I swoon to think about him. After reading his ad and checking his website, I rang him to negotiate what services he would provide, how much he charged and where he lived. Not surprisingly, he lived in a decaying studio-apartment building that had not seen a coat of paint in 25 years. But that was irrelevant. He greeted me at his apartment door wearing only a pair of whiter-than-white briefs. He was exquisite and offered value for money. The only exaggeration in his ad was the size of his cock, which was quite adequate. I'm not a size queen anyway. His clean but blessedly unfragranced, taught, little dancer's body offered the tastes and smells of male pheromones that sent my hibernating hormones into overdrive. "Miguel" was totally cooperative and uninhibited (he even kissed), better than six months of therapy.

When the need arises I plan to try another dish the poontang cafeteria offers in the ads, although I would not mind another serving of the first one. I have no moral qualms about paying for sex, although I wish I did not have to, as do most men. Having lived a life of Depression-era frugality, I find it hard to spend money for carnal pleasure, although I should not. I might as well enjoy the money now because the government is going to get a lot of it when I die. I, like other old people, ache for skin contact, the warmth of another body. My lips twitch in frustration for want of loving -- or at least caring -- kisses. After more than four decades with my beloved husband, who died, the loneliness, the hunger for the intimate touch of another man, is corrosive and there is no balm.

Male sex workers, like their female counterparts, perform a valuable service to men -- and not a few women -- who are unable to find lovers or sex partners because of age, weight, appearance or disability. Unfortunately they are stigmatized, as are their clients to a lesser degree, especially in the blue-nosed Puritanical societies, the United States prime among them. But we all sell what we have to offer, whether it is our brains, our talent, our beauty or our bodies. In the case heterosexuals, that sale may be legitimized with a marriage contract.

Unattached older gay men have fewer opportunities to connect sexually than do straight men because, first of all, since women outlive men, there are more older women seeking men than older men seeking other men. And when they are they are not looking for their peers but for younger men, just as many older straight men seek younger women -- trophy wives, arm candy, or hood ornaments. In the personals ads in gay/lesbian and other alternative publications gay men are always looking for younger partners or someone who is within five years of their age. Rare are the ads of men 50, even 45 or older looking for their peers.

The non-commercial options are limited to almost nonexistent. Even in public anonymous sex venues and the baths older gay men are shunned and often verbally assaulted. Graffiti on toilet stall walls advertising for sex dates stipulate "no fats, fems, or oldies." Gay bars are particularly cruel, even if the smoke and noise are tolerable. Cocky, self-assured younger gays who find old-age offensive call the gayriatrics Dad or Granddad, never realizing that they too may, if they are lucky, one day be old themselves. Old age, they think, is contagious. Youth is eternal. Their body parts never migrate south, their faces remain unlined, their hair never turns gray or falls out, their orgasms are forever seismic and volcanic in volume. Any effort by an older man to engage in friendly conversation is considered a come-on, an intrusion in the private sanctum of youth. In other societies, as in ancient Greece and Rome, age is revered and the elderly are honored and respected for their wisdom. In parts of Asia and Latin America, young men willingly, even happily share their bodies with older men, albeit, of course, in exchange for money or other favors. I myself had sex with a number of young men--all of legal age--in Thailand who offered not only their bodies but beautiful smiles, warm friendship and companionship.

For unattached lonely gay men, sex-for-pay is the one option available, even if not ideal.

I have been solicited by street hustlers, but never have hired one, although a friend of mine frequently does. He prefers African-Americans, he says, because they are friendlier and will spend more time with him than the edgy white hustlers eager to get it on, get it over and get a fix. Street hustlers, like hookers, are usually the least satisfactory because they usually are demeaned and demeaning and cheap. Too often they offer a quick blow job in the back seat of a car parked in an alley in a deserted industrial area or a sleazy motel for a relatively small price in order to pay for a quick fix -- the drugs that provide them a brief escape from the realities of their pathetic lives. Many of the street hustlers, pursued by the police, are homeless teen-age youths who have been kicked out by their families, "throwaways," not runaways, because they are gay. Compounding their problems of self-hatred is the abuse heaped upon them by their demeaning, self-hating johns. In turn they steal from their johns and return the verbal and sometimes physical abuse.

In a recent cable documentary, "101 Rent Boys," hustlers repeated in interviews a litany of their lives as outcasts. They were a sad lot, depressed and self-destructive, some HIV infected, none expecting to live for very long. One articulate hustler said he knew of none who lasted more than two years in the life, mostly on the infamous Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, a commercial sex area that has a counterpart in other major cities.

The classified ads, in which rent-boys list themselves as "masseurs" or "models/escorts," offer somewhat classier men who also are pricey because they usually can be relied upon to offer a more relaxed, friendlier sexual experience. It is not unusual to find college graduates or graduate students who are earning extra money selling pleasures of the flesh and the psyche. A highly educated acquaintance of mine, well known in his professional field, earned a lucrative income until he was in his 50s, reputedly because of his unusual endowment and the specialized services he offered. He retired from his avocation when it became difficult for him to get an erection on demand.

The "models/escorts" are willing to visit the client's home or hotel and most will entertain in their own homes for a smaller fee. Their ads list their range of services -- oral, anal, passive or active, versatile, S/M, B/D, fisting, leather and sometimes more exotic activities. But truth in advertising is not guaranteed, any more than the ads for electronic products or used automobiles. The rent-boys may not match their self-descriptions. Some publications carry display ads with photographs of the hunkiest of them, usually with the face not shown and crotch obscured. Some of these rent-boys have web sites, a few displaying them naked and erect, so clients can check out the goods before making a date. Indeed, the gay traveler can find listings and photographs for escorts in the major cities of the United States and Europe.

At the top of the scale are "escort services" whose fees are somewhat higher than those of the free-lancers. These provide "escorts" to the client's specifications -- boy-next-door or college student types, swimmer's or dancer's physiques, gymnasts, hairy mature men, ethnic minorities, wrestlers, buffed body builders, blond or dark, tall or short. The advantage, of course, is that if the escort's services are unsatisfactory, the client can complain to the service. Some also accept credit cards so the client can refuse to pay if the escort did not satisfactorily play.

"Masseurs" frequently offer only a thorough massage to the naked client and are more likely to perform this service "in" -- that is, at their home -- where they have massage tables and oils. Some advertise that they provide "release," meaning they give the client a hand job after giving him a massage and getting him aroused. I have hired several masseurs, primarily for a relaxing massage, but hoping for more. One stunning Asian graduate student did provide sexual services, albeit passive and uninvolved, after giving me an excellent massage with both of us naked in his bed. A talkative Filipino masseur donned surgical gloves and applied lubricant generously to provide "release." While I enjoy a good massage, for sex I prefer the "escort" whose service is straightforward and negotiated in advance.

In more civilized parts of the world, male brothels provide a safer, more dignified environment for both the rent-boy and his client. But when and where they exist in the United States they are known only through the grapevine. They are an even easier target for the police than are female brothels, even though public officials the police themselves hire the sexual services of these sex workers.

Medicare reimburses the elderly for chiropractic and acupuncture services to relieve muscular aches and psychological services to relieve their depression. In an ideal world, not likely in this lifetime or the next, sexual services also would be reimbursed. That pleasure, however ephemeral, is just as therapeutic and the providers just as valuable as the physicians and other health care workers.